Sean Bean

N is for National Treasure (2004)

Archaeologist Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) races to find the legendary Templar Treasure before a team of mercenaries, led by former friend and colleague Ian Howe (Sean Bean).

So I have seen National Treasure many times before, but as I don’t own a film beginning with the letter N that I had not seen before, and I rewatched the National Treasure movies the other day because they bring me joy, I thought it would do fine for this challenge.

National Treasure is just so much fun. It’s a heist movie (one of my favourite genres of movie) with history (one of my favourite subjects at school). Sure, the premise of hidden treasure and a secret, invisible map on the back of the Declaration of Independence is farfetched and kind of silly but who cares?! This premise makes a great film!

Ben along with his best friend and tech genius Riley (Justin Bartha) are the ones trying to stop Ian – their thinking is they must steal the Declaration of Independence in order to protect it. As their heist gets underway archivist Dr Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) gets caught up in their plans and the three of them are forced to work together to figure out the clues and find the treasure before Ian does.

The main trio of characters are all great. They are all well-rounded, they each have their own skills and knowledge to contribute to finding the treasure, and they just fit together nicely. Riley isn’t related to comedy sidekick and Ben doesn’t always have all of the answers.

The action sequences are well shot and exciting, and the score, composed by Trevor Rabin, is great and the central motif just works so well. The mysteries and double crosses that are key to a heist and a treasure hunt are all there and the film goes by at a good pace so you are never bored.

National Treasure is just a fun adventure film that knows exactly what it is, and it does it incredibly well. It’s pure escapism for a couple of hours and I love it. 5/5.

REVIEW: Don’t Say a Word (2001)

dont say a wordPsychiatrist Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) is horrified to discover when his young daughter Jessie (Skye McCole Bartusiak) is kidnapped the abductors demands is that he break through a post-traumatic stress disorder suffering young woman, Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), who knows a secret the abductor will do anything to get.

Don’t Say a Word is a tense psychological thriller that may be a bit simple at times but it makes it no less enjoyable. It is a slick looking film, with a great score and any chase sequence is well shot and easy to follow. While Don’t Say a Word can be a bit paint-by-numbers when it comes to a psychological thriller, it really does have a great cast who gives it their all – bar the bad guys, they really are cut-and-paste villains.

Jessie is a smart kid and her mother Aggie (Famke Janssen) is resourceful. Detective Sandra Cassidy (Jennifer Esposito) the police officer who stumbles into the kidnapping through a seemingly separate case, is smart and capable and doesn’t let the men in the force fob her off with excuses. I liked her even though she really wasn’t sure who to believe to begin with. The team of abductors is led by Patrick Koster (Sean Bean) who really is your typical bad guy that could walk from the pages of any thriller. He’s not particularly interesting, or that threatening, he just wants what Elisabeth can tell him. It’s the female characters in Don’t Say a Word who are more interesting and proactive in the plot.

Really the highlight of the film is Nathan Conrad and his relationship with Elisabeth Burrows. Elisabeth is suffering from PTSD but she is very smart and manages to fool a lot of other psychiatrists to think that she’s got many more problems than that. Elisabeth is a fascinating character and Brittany Murphy’s performance is brilliant. The way she can switch from one emotion to another so quickly is great but at the same time you can see how she is slowly starting to and wanting to trust Nathan and as much as trusting him will help her, she’s also scared to do exactly that. Nathan is great as obviously he will do anything to get his daughter back but at the same time you can tell he is a good psychiatrist who does care about his patient. How he gets through to Elisabeth is sometimes tough to watch but their chemistry really is great and elevates the film.

Don’t Say a Word is a thriller that may be a bit predictable sometimes but it really thrives on the relationship and chemistry between the two leads. 3/5.

REVIEW: The Martian (2015)

the martian elenasquareeyesDuring a manned mission to Mars a fierce storm hits and the crew must evacuate. In the chaos Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by debris and presumed dead by his crew. Little do they know, Watney survived but now he has to find a way to live on Mars and contact NASA to let them know he’s still alive.

Directed by Ridley Scott and with a screenplay by Drew Goddard The Martian is ridiculously fun. It blends the visuals of Gravity, with the drama of Apollo 13 and the science of Interstellar without it getting bogged down or boring. The way in which the film juggles multiple characters is to be commended. Not only does it have Watney “science-ing the shit” out of his situation all alone on Mars but it has his crew in orbit on a space station and the people of NASA back on Earth struggling to figure out a way to bring him home.

Each character gets their moment to shine and the way characters are introduced often gives a quick insight into what sort of person to shine, my favourite character introduction was Rich Purnell (Donald Glover) and all his scenes were great, especially as you slowly see what he’s up to before he meets everyone else. (more…)